The Favourite (2018)

The Favourite was shocking.

Not because of all the utterly bizarre party games, unexpected (and sometimes hilariously boring) sex or heightened political pitfalls, but because, from what I’ve read, a lot of it was true.  Which reminds me…I have to Google rather or not “duck racing” is a thing.  #teamhoratio

There appear to be some liberties taken.  I’ve come to find out that Queen Anne sadly did not keep rabbits (trust me, it’s relevant) and that the people involved did not exactly go to the lengths portrayed, but apparently the basic foundation and resolution of this story is historically accurate.  And that, my friends, is shocking.

It’s that little tidbit, though, that turned The Favourite from an otherwise catty story about two social-climbing women backstabbing each other for the sake of station into a beautiful movie about ugly people with several timeless morals, including the old standbys, “no good deed goes unpunished” and “be careful what you ask for.”

I think my favourite (English flourish intended) thing about the movie (aside from the impeccable costumes and beautiful sets—seriously, England apparently has the most magnificent ceilings in the whole wide world) was how the script was wonderfully misleading without ever being devious.  It’s hard to write what is ultimately a character study where every individual is true to their nature while still getting the audience to trick itself into believing something else.  At the end, you’re surprised, nay, horrified by what you knew all along.  They took me on a journey and provided a magnificent reminder of who’s really in charge, be it a screenwriter, a director or a Queen.

And let’s talk about the Queen.  If nothing else this movie served to educate me about Queen Anne.  Before seeing The Favourite, my knowledge of her was limited to a style of furniture.  It turns out she was much more than that.  It’s easy to see why Elizabeth gets all the attention:  she had a lot more drama/intrigue/cousin-murdering and was way easier to look at with that fiery red hair and a wardrobe that would rival Padmé Amidala’s, but Anne has a story of her own and it’s one worth knowing.  I pitied her, loved her, hated her, coveted her, feared her and feared for her all at the same time.  It’s obviously fantastic acting, writing and directing that allowed that to happen, but it all goes back to the source material.

I also couldn’t write this review without saying that Emma Stone is just the bee’s knees.  If you ever read my “Reflection” series, then imagine her as Olivia Redding—she’s my first pick for casting.  I feel like her British accent was probably horrible and I’m sure there are a hundred actresses from the UK who could have been more convincing in that part, but none could have been as expressive as Emma Stone was in the library scene.  I’m laughing just thinking about it.  If I can suffer through an ear-bleeding movie about jazz just to watch her (I’m talking about you, La La Land) then a dodgy accent is cake.

This is a great movie and deserves every accolade it’s sure to get.

 

the favourite

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